Mexican Pinto Beans in the Instant Pot

Mexican Pinto Beans--Nightshade Free
Mexican Pinto Beans–Nightshade Free

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I love my Instant Pot, especially for cooking beans! Once the pot is going, I don’t give it a second thought until it beeps that it has finished cooking. I love that! I love that I don’t have to monitor the water level as I would if I were cooking beans on the stove. A slow cooker is also nice, but the Instant Pot is a lot faster, which I like!

It seems I can tolerate some legumes, for which I’m grateful. Pinto beans are one of my favorite legumes. Since I live in the southwest, I was raised on Mexican food and I really enjoy it. Since starting the elimination diet, I eliminated the peppers and tomatoes since they are in the nightshade family. Avocados are high in histamine (and benzoates) so I’ve been avoiding them too for awhile. Of course, I will be retesting all these foods again, but for now they *seem* to be problematic for me (joint pain and headaches are the usual result of eating them).

So, how can one make decent Mexican food without tomatoes, avocados and peppers (jalapeno, chili powder, green chilies, etc)?  Well, I used lots of onion, garlic and cilantro and I was pretty pleased with the result!

The pinto beans were made in the Instant Pot, but you can cook yours on the stove or in a slow cooker. I always cook my beans plain so I can use them a number of different ways. I took the cooked beans and made some Mexican Pinto Beans and also some Mexican “Refried” Beans (without added oil or fat). I’ve made the Mexican Beans both on the stove and in the Instant Pot. Either way works….I just always cook my beans first in the Instant Pot.  🙂

If you have to avoid the nightshade family of foods, I think you will enjoy these beans. If you can enjoy peppers and cumin (which I haven’t tested yet) feel free to add some of these spices too!

You might find Miss Vickie’s cooking time chart for dried beans helpful. My cooking times are much longer than her suggested times….I guess because I live at 7000 feet in elevation. Find the time that works for you and make a note of it somewhere.

Happy cooking!  (and eating! 🙂 )

Oh, and if you are interested in a recipe for pinto beans that has a few additional spices added, you can check out my later post Mexican Pinto Beans #2!  🙂

Pinto Beans with onion and cilantro

Mexican Pinto Beans in the Instant Pot!

This recipe uses onion, garlic and cilantro to flavor the pinto beans instead of peppers which are in the nightshade family.
Course Legumes, Main Course, Side Dish
Appliances Instant Pot
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 21 minutes
Servings 4 servings


  • 1 cup dried pinto beans
  • water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth or water
  • 1/2 cup onion chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled and minced
  • cilantro leaves chopped


  1. Put the dried beans onto a plate. Look them over and pick out any shriveled or bad beans.
  2. Place the beans into a colander and rinse well.
  3. Place the beans into a bowl and cover with at least 2 inches of water. Soak for 4 to 6 hours. You can skip the soaking step if you want and cook the beans for a longer time, but I always soak the beans. You can also start the beans the night before and soak them overnight.
  4. Rinse the soaked beans and put them into the Instant Pot. Add water so that the beans are covered. Seal the lid, press "Beans/Chili" and your cooking time. (Many charts call for 10-12 minutes for soaked pinto beans...I use 55 minutes....I guess it takes me that long because I live at 7000 feet!)
  5. When they are done, allow for a natural release for 15 minutes, then do a quick release.
  6. Test the beans. If not done, simmer or pressure cook for a little longer. If you are going to make the "refried" beans you will want the beans very well cooked so that they will mash easily.
  7. Drain the beans, discarding the liquid. Rinse out the Instant Pot, but you don't need to thoroughly wash it.
  8. Put the vegetable broth in the Instant Pot. Add the chopped onion and garlic. Cook on "Saute" and "Less" (use the Adjust button to lower the heat).
  9. If you want, you can use a clean binder clip to attach the stainless steel inner pot to the Instant Pot body to keep the pot steady as you stir.
  10. When the onion and garlic are tender, add the pinto beans and cilantro (use as much cilantro as you want...I use about a tablespoon). Heat through.
  11. Season to taste with sea salt (I use 1/2 teaspoon) and lots of love!!
  12. You can also cook the beans on the stove or in a slow cooker. You can then use the stove to saute the onion and garlic and finish making the Mexican beans.
  13. If you want the beans to be "refried" use a potato masher and mash the beans to desired consistency.
  14. Enjoy these nightshade free Mexican Beans!!
  15. Or enjoy them as fat free "Refried" Mexican Beans!

Recipe Notes

Of course you can add as much garlic, onion and cilantro as you want!  If you tolerate chili powder, chilies or cumin you can add those ingredients too.  I'm not that brave yet......  🙂 I use my homemade vegetable stock whenever I saute vegetables. It adds a nice flavor.

11 thoughts on “Mexican Pinto Beans in the Instant Pot

  1. I love to make Mexican beans, also! You could throw in some dried mexican oregano and a bay leaf while they’re cooking, to give them more flavor, as well. Thanks for the post, I just got an Instant Pot and I’m trying to figure out how to make the stuff I normally make in my slow cooker.

  2. Thanks for your comment and suggestions! I hope you enjoy your Instant Pot for cooking beans too! I stopped by your blog and enjoyed looking around!! Happy, healthy cooking and New Year to you!! 🙂

  3. I am trying to make frijoles Tex-Mex style. Thanks for your tips. I live along the Texas coast at 39 feet above sea level. 55 minutes for dry beans is also about right for me. I know there are factors like type of water and age of beans that affect cooking time, but I think an important factor is expectation. I want my beans to taste and look like my mom’s. 30 minutes in the Instant Pot makes edible beans, but it does not have the deep color or the tenderness I am looking for.

    1. Hi Raleigh! I agree with your thought on considering your expectation for how your beans should look and taste! Thanks for mentioning it! And I’m sure your mom would be proud and happy that you want your beans to look and taste like hers. Happy cooking! 🙂

  4. Hi, I thought you were an instant pot owner but what I noticed you said to soak the beans I realize you must have a slow cooker. Because everyone knows if you have an instant pot you can put dried beans and I cook them in 45 minutes.

    1. Hi John! Thanks for your comments and taking the time to write. What I’ve found is beans take WAY longer for me to cook in my Instant Pot because I live at 7000 feet. If I didn’t soak them them I think they wouldn’t cook evenly and would take even longer still. SO, I soak my beans (and even my lentils and split peas) just so that they will cook in a reasonable time……You can check out my post titled Cooking Beans in the Instant Pot if interested! Thanks for writing and I hope you are enjoying your Instant Pot!! 🙂

  5. Hi Tina,
    This recipe was delicious! I soaked “a bunch” of beans (turned out to be 2.5 cups soaked), and didn’t read the whole recipe ahead of time (lesson learned) so I just dumped all ingredients in the Instant Pot (added bay leaf as someone said above, and epazote), covered the beans with water, and cooked it for 25 min. (at 1000 ft.), and NR for 20 min. It came out more like soup or stew, but served over rice it’s no less tasty. Dear hubby was thrilled with this dinner!

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe!!! Saucy beans work great over rice as you discovered so no harm in having too much liquid! Today I made some Mexican Pinto Beans again and while they were excellent, I didn’t use a lot of water so there isn’t a lot of *sauce*…..which I discovered I really like!! So next time, I will add a bit more water than I did this time.

      Happy Instant Pot cooking!!!!!!!!!!!! And thanks for writing!!!!! 🙂

  6. I have been cooking pinto beans for some time in a slow cooker. Recently I bought an Instant Pot and began my experimentation. I am at sea level. I soak the beans for 24 hours, and I have tried 8, 9, and 10 minutes for cooking. The 8 minutes seems fine. Instant Pot recommends 7-9 minutes for soaked beans. I find there is an “aesthetic” issue. My beans always come out with a brown spot at the spot on the bean where it had attached to the pod. I never remember this effect in a slow cooker. I presume this is caused by the higher heat. The taste seems to be okay. I am planning to compare the look and taste of the slow cooked beans vs. pressure cooked beans carefully. So much attention is paid to the speed of cooking and so little to quality of result and taste.

    1. Hi Richard~ Thanks for writing and expressing your thoughts! People do have their preferences for how they like their beans prepared. You might enjoy checking out the Rancho Gordo Facebook page. Rancho Gordo sells heirloom beans (check out their website at On their FaceBook page, people share how they cook their beans. Many seem to love baking the beans in the oven!! You might enjoy reading what people say.

      Have fun experimenting! I will be doing the same!!!! 🙂

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